In the meantime at Rhuddlan,
having received news that Harold was advancing down the valley,
Gruffudd began to load his ship at the quay side. It proved to
be a damned close run thing, a gust of wind entered the ship's
sails to drive it down the river; just as the first of Harold's
men appeared on open ground a mile to the north of the castle.
Gruffudd and some of his followers may have escaped, but in rage
Harold razed Rhuddlan to the ground.
In 1073 there were new occupants at Rhuddlan. A huge Motte and
bailey castle had been constructed and it was home to Robert of
Rhuddlan, first cousin to Hugh d'Avranches the first Norman Earl
of Chester. It was from Rhuddlan that Robert planed and carried
out his advances into north Wales. However, he seemingly forgot
two things about the north Wales Welsh; they could organize and
they could fight. When Hugh eventually succeeded
to advance to Anglesey, his army was severely mauled by the Danes
who had come ashore to restock their ships. On the retreat the
men of the north were ready and waiting. Time and again they attacked
the Norman column as they retreated eastward along the shoreline
of north Wales. When the column was forced to swing inland, to
avoid Penmaenmawr heights, the men of the mountains struck with
full force. Very few Norman's returned to Rhuddlan, Robert certainly
By 1274 Llywelyn ap Gruffudd was prince of Wales. At the same
time, having returned from a crusade, Edward Ist had assumed the
crown of England. Llywelyn so misjudged the character of the man.
Having got the better of Henry III, he thought he could get the
better of Edward too; it was to be a disastrous mistake. In 1276
Edward was determined to bring Llywelyn to heel and ordered fighting
men and materials to be assembled at Chester, where on July of
1277 he arrived to take command. By the 22nd he was on the move
and soon he had established an advanced base at Flint. With the
construction of Flint castle set in motion, supported on the seaward
side by twenty 25 armed ships of the Cinque ports, Edward then
advanced to Rhuddlan.
Within a month, with construction still going on all around him,
Llywelyn was forced to capitulate and sign a surrender in the
great hall. When men of Llywelyn's army group again placed Rhuddlan
under siege late in 1277, the castle was relieved by an English
army from Chester under the command of Count Amadeus V of Savoy
early the following year. The castle was never put under siege
by my countrymen again.